The Only Modulation Pedal You'll Ever Need
Warning: Long review, but that's how you know I like a product.
This pedal. HOLY CRAP this pedal.
Things that are awesome:
- Responsive controls: The fear I always have with multi-effects units is that the controls will only minimally affect the voicing of the pedal's various effects. This isn't so here: The speed and depth knob are the perfect compromise in allowing you to dial the exact chorus/vibrato/flange that you want without getting too bogged down in knobs. The tone-filtering DIP switch also actually works, and allows you to further color your sound by enhancing the bass or treble or bypassing the feature altogether.
- FX Level knob: This is the ONLY modulation pedal I've heard that sounds awesome with the level cranked to 10 (That includes chorus, flange, vibrato, and tremolo pedals). All of the other pedals I've heard make the signal overly-wet at this point - This is the only one I've used that attempts to blend the wet signal with the dry signal (Called analog-dry through technology)... And it sounds awesome.
- Chorus 1 Mode: Not much to say here apart from the fact that this is the perfect chorus to put behind slower, clean/low-drive ballads. Makes arpeggiated chords sound very good.
- Flange 1 Mode: Really interesting and different take on a modern digital flanger. More subtle but has some bite to it... You really just have to try it. Very musical sound.
- Vibrato 1 Mode: When you back the rate off, you get a very chorus-like sound with very smooth swells. Turn it up, and you've pretty much got a Leslie. I don't use a lot of vibrato, but I'm loving playing around with this mode.
- Chorus 2 Mode: Tied for my favorite mode on the pedal. It's black magic in a box, really. I want you to imagine a nice, subtle but wet chorus sound that is perfect for placing over hi-gain amp channels to get a vintage rock sound. The major drawback to this is normally that chords sound great, but individual notes are muddy. NOT HERE. You get that wonderful, wet and powerful chorus sound, but every note you play is clear, sharp, and crisp. Like I said, black magic. Best chorus I've ever used.
- Flange 2 Mode: My other favorite mode on this pedal. Can anyone say Van Halen "Unchained"? This mode is a very convicting emulation of an analog flanger. Tons of fun.
- Vibrato 2 Mode: Another very different mode that's very fun to explore. Hard to explain it's sonic characteristics, but it's easy to get lost in tweaking it.
- TonePrint Mode : Just like every other pedal in this range, the Dreamscape is TonePrint loaded, and I cannot begin to explain how cool this software is. The Dreamscape uses the Corona's artist toneprints, which are all very cool (My favorite so far is Paul Gilbert's Triple Carmel Apple print). Even cooler, though, is the fact that you can design your own prints and send them into the pedal with the free editor. Again, the same as any other TonePrint pedal, but awesome nonetheless!
Things to be aware of:
- The setup process: To get TonePrint to work, you need to update your pedal to the most recent firmware. The instructions to do this are all documented on TC's website, but it's finicky. The key is to properly put your pedal into boot mode, so it can accept new firmware. To do so, connect the pedal via USB to your computer, hold the bypass switch down, insert the power cable while still holding the switch, and release the switch (All in that order). If you insert power before the USB cable, the pedal will not go into boot mode. The light will be green if you did it correctly.
- VIB1, VIB2, and FLA2 dry signal kill: The listed effects kill the dry signal instead of sending it through the pedal with the wet signal, so there is about a 30% volume reduction when using them. A boost pedal (Which my amp actually has built in) fixes that problem very fast, though.
- Available TonePrints: Currently, though it is a multi-effects pedal, the only TonePrints primarily available are the Corona Chorus's (I think there are a few vibrato prints, but for the most part, it's all chorus). I really hope this changes to include the Vortex and Shaker TonePrints (Hint, hint TC), but as it stands, there are still plenty of fun TonePrints to choose from.
All in all, TC and John really delivered with this product. In general, the TonePrint line redefines the quality standard in digital effects units, and the Dreamscape is just as awesome as its brethren.